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'I drink more than 5 liters of water a day': How Indians survived their biggest heat wave in more than half a century |  Globalism

‘I drink more than 5 liters of water a day’: How Indians survived their biggest heat wave in more than half a century | Globalism

An unprecedented heat wave hits India and PakistanThis caused power outages and water shortages for millions of people. In some regions, thermometers approach 50 degrees Celsius.

The area has been experiencing rising temperatures for weeks. In March, New Delhi’s thermometers registered 40.1°C, a level not seen at this time of year since 1946. On Thursday (28), The Indian capital faced 46 degreesmaking life increasingly difficult for residents, especially for those who have to work outdoors.

I drink more than 5 liters of water per day. “It’s the only thing I can do,” says Mohammed, a 50-year-old laborer, carrying huge pieces of metal on his shoulders under the scorching midday sun. “I have to work for a living,” he sums up, remembering that he lives in Construction site.” “I sleep here. At least we have a fan,” he tries to console himself.

Mohammed works in one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in the capital, which is witnessing an acceleration in the construction sector. But business is already beginning to suffer the impact of rising temperatures.

An excavator tries to naturally contain the heat-generated fire in the Indian capital, New Delhi (Photo: Adnan Abedi/Reuters)

“In the past few days, some workers left because they suffered a lot from the heat,” says the foreman, Mohamed Yassin. “Those who remain are forced to stop several times a day to rest, which delays construction,” he comments.

The heat wave occurs in the middle of Ramadan, the traditional Muslim fast, which ends this weekend. Those who respect this practice go without food from sunrise to sunset, which makes working conditions more difficult. Islam is followed by more than 200 million people in India.

In the north of the capital, a garbage dump caught fire on Thursday, and according to local authorities, the fire was caused by high temperatures. It took firefighters hours to control the flames, making the city’s air quality more breathable.

Three more fires broke out in less than a month in Gazipur, the capital’s largest landfill, 65 meters high. The city of more than 20 million people lacks modern infrastructure to process the 12,000 tons of waste it produces every day.

A man breaks an ice cube to distribute it to residents of Ahmedabad, India (Photo: Amit Dev/Reuters .)

Heat waves have killed more than 6500 people in India since 2010. Scientists say that due to climate change, they are becoming more frequent, but also more severe. “Heat like the one that hit India earlier this month has only been seen once every 50 years,” says Maryam Zakaria of the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London.

Farming Pakistan in danger

In the Pakistan Temperatures also reach 8 degrees above normal in some areas, reaching 48 degrees in certain areas, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Society.

The heat and lack of rain directly affect the farmers, who will have to manage the water supply in this country where agriculture, the basis of the economy, employs about 40% of the total workforce. “Public health and agriculture in the country will face serious threats from this year’s extreme temperatures,” Sherry Rahman, Minister of Climate Change, sums up.

Pakistanis trying to relax in a lake during a hot day – Photo: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

High temperatures also cause an explosion in electricity consumption. Several cities in Pakistan It already suffered a blackout of up to eight hours. Coal has also begun to run out of power plants to power their activities. According to Pakistan Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, the electricity crisis is already affecting the entire country.

In Rajasthan, in northwest India, and the neighboring state of Gujarat, but also in Andhra Pradesh, in the south, power has been cut off to factories to reduce consumption. According to local media, major power plants are also facing coal shortages.

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